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A Pennsylvania man is accused of slamming into a vehicle and killing a 45-year-old woman, on the same day as his mother’s funeral, giving him his sixth DUI arrest in nine years.
Police said David Strowhouer, 30, then tried to pin the crime on his cousin, who was believed to be in Puerto Rico at the time of the deadly accident, according to the Delaware County Daily Times.
Strowhouer was allegedly driving a Dodge Ram pick up truck shortly after 9 p.m. on Feb. 16 when police said the vehicle swerved across the double yellow line and struck a 2019 Subaru WRX head on, killing Deana Eckman and severely injuring her husband.
Strowhouer then fled the vehicle, later returning to the scene to tell officers he had been riding in the passenger’s seat while his cousin drove.
Strowhouer claimed he and his cousin were on their way to buy cocaine after leaving a family gathering following his mother’s funeral when the crash occurred and that he had let his cousin drive because he was too intoxicated to drive himself.
After the crash, he told Patrolman Matthew McCusker he had climbed across the front seat and gotten out of the driver’s side of the car, according to an affidavit obtained by the local paper.
“McCusker detected a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage about Strowhouer’s breath,” the affidavit stated, adding that the officer believed he was “intoxicated to the degree that he was incapable of safely operating” the truck.
After conducting an investigation, officers learned that Strowhouer’s cousin had not been at the funeral and was believed to be in Puerto Rico, where he lives, at the time of the accident, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
In addition, there was no evidence that the passenger side seat belt had been used at the time of the crash, while the driver-side seat belt was extended and locked suggesting someone had been wearing it at the time of the crash. Impact marks were also found on the dashboard near the driver’s side, the Daily Times reports.
In an interview with Strowhouer’s brother, he told officers Strowhouer had been drinking heavily throughout the day after the funeral and had left his house around 9 p.m. driving the truck.
"I find this case to be devastatingly troubling," Delaware County District Attorney Katayoun Copeland said, according to the PhillyVoice. "On a day where the defendant should have been with his family mourning the passing of his mother, he instead brought tragedy to another family."
Deana Eckman was pronounced dead shortly after the accident. Her husband suffered a fractured pelvis and other injuries.
Strowhouer was arrested and charged with a series of crimes including driving under the influence, homicide by vehicle, aggravated assault by vehicle, accidents involving death or personal injury and driving with a suspended license.
This is the Pennsylvania man’s sixth DUI arrest in nine years. He was previously arrested for a DUI in July 2010, July 2011, August 2014, February 2015 and May 2017.
“He has done jail time for every previous offense, and he’s done so with increasing severity,” Copeland said according to the Daily Times. “Every single time, he has faced at least, if not more, the mandatory minimum…He has also done time for violation of parole and probation.”
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